Le Roy to hold student panel on provost search

Photo by Rick Treur.
Photo by Rick Treur.

A student panel will be consulted at the end of the search process for a new provost, President Le Roy told Chimes Monday.

Student senate considered pushing for a student representative on the search committee, which currently has no student, but senate said the student panel will be enough to communicate the student voice.

The new provost will replace Claudia Beversluis, who completes her term next June. The job of the provost is to oversee all faculty, research and classes at Calvin.

A student panel will be asked to meet with the final candidates for provost and give the search committee feedback from a student’s perspective.

Le Roy said that students sitting in search committee meetings and pouring over resumes is not going to add as much value as bringing them in later in the process.

“It seems like students do best at that latter stage where they can interact. That was where I think the most value is added by students,” Le Roy said.

According to David Kuenzi, student body president, a student panel at the end of the process will provide a voice for the student body.

“We believe that this advisory group is exactly what the student body needs and it is absolutely adequate in conveying student opinion on this issue,” he said.

Le Roy also said that multiple students will provide a broader student perspective than one student on a committee.

“When you have a single student, it puts a lot of burden on just them to represent all students,” he said.

But Kelly Organ, the student representative on the presidential search committee that hired Le Roy, said that she thinks student input should be considered throughout the process.

“I personally think that an end-of-the-process panel discussion with students runs the danger of making the student voice a rubber stamp, and not much more,” she said.

But Le Roy explained there are many aspects of the search process that are tedious and require a certain amount of experience — something for which students are not necessarily prepared.

“I want people on that committee who are experienced at hiring. That’s not to say that’s the only valuable thing that’s brought to a process, but we want to pull students in at a point when they will have the most value,” Le Roy said.

“The role of the provost is a role that does affect students, but by and large it affects faculty,” said Kuenzi. “So yes, I trust that the committee will consider the student panel and pay attention to [their feedback].”

The hiring process for any high level position consists of many steps in which student input is valuable, argues Organ.

“There is simply far, far too much that happens over the course of months of meetings, readings, discussions and prayer that can’t be covered in one late-term event,” she said.

Student senate stands by their decision to not push for a student representative on the provost search committee.

“In dealing with this preliminary decision making process, I don’t think it’s a battle we want to fight,” said Kuenzi. “We have a lot of things we value in representation and in our fierce pursuit of improving student representation, but fighting to have a student in the preliminary process of the search is not our battle.”

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